January 30, 2023

Build Your Writing Community

Image created by Midjourney

Writing can be a lonely and solitary activity, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve found that building a community of writers around me has helped. Although my work isn’t collaborative, it’s better after getting workshopped by my critique group. More importantly, I’ve grown as a writer because of my interactions and friendships with fellow writers. They’ve been helpful and supportive to me, and I enjoy sharing my expertise and being there for them as well. Having some sort of writing community is so essential that if you’re a writer and don’t have a community around you yet, I implore you to join one right now.

Go Online

The first place to look for fellow writers is online. There are great writer forums and discussion groups on Reddit, Facebook, Discord, and other platforms. These groups are typically easy to get into, and you’ll meet like-minded people worldwide. I found it reassuring to read about other writers' struggles similar to mine. When dealing with something unique, various writers could respond to my posts with their personal experiences related to mine and offer support.

There are also huge writing communities on social media websites like Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. Follow other writers and post about your writing journey. These sites make it easy to host events like word sprints, book release parties, pitch wars, and other fun, collaborative writing activities.

The main caveat of online writing communities is that you only get out of it what you put in. You need to join and read the discussions, post about your writing, and participate in the events.

Join a Local Group

Online interactions are lovely, but I prefer meeting other writers in person. Although you can find local authors and start a new group, there are already great writing groups almost everywhere you can join. A good writing group will offer a variety of events, including critique groups, workshops, write-ins, and social gatherings.

Most states have prominent writers’ organizations you can join. I live in Maryland and am a Maryland Writers Association (MWA) member. Although it’s not year-round, NaNoWriMo organizes several in-person writing events all over the world, which are good ways to find your local community.

Getting Started

I recommend getting your feet wet by attending a write-in. People attend these gatherings to write alongside like-minded people while primarily working independently. Occasionally, people take a break from writing to catch up with each other and talk shop, but they are primarily there to work. Make sure to bring your laptop, a notebook, or whatever you use to write. If the write-in meets at a coffee shop or restaurant, be prepared to buy some food or drinks to help support the business.

Another good place to start is by attending a social event or book signing. These events are more casual and fun.

Join a Critique Group

When you’re ready to share your work, participating in a critique group is one of the best ways to improve your writing. Not only will you get valuable feedback on your manuscript and suggestions for improving it, but you’ll also have the opportunity to look at other writers' work to learn from their strengths and notice shared struggles. You may find that your critique group can help edit your work at the same level as a pricy developmental editor. If you plan on publishing your work, your critique group will help you polish your manuscript and save money on editing expenses (but not all—I still recommend hiring a professional editor).

Attend a Workshop

Many writing groups will also host workshops. Even if the subject matter is something you think you're familiar with, attending these will introduce you to new perspectives, broaden your writing knowledge, and equip you with new tools to be more productive and write better. Eventually, you may want to share your writing expertise and host your own workshop.


Another key to building your writing community is networking. Building your network helps you meet new publishing professionals, expand your audience, and introduces you to new opportunities. Events like conventions, tradeshows, and book fairies are great places to meet other writers. You can purchase a table and sell books at these events, or you can go as an attendee. Either way, bring business cards (or cards with your contact information/social media handles) and reach out later to the new people you meet.

Don't Quit

Once you’ve built your writing community, you must take time to maintain those connections. Your association memberships won’t help if you don’t continue to attend workshops and participate in write-ins and critique groups. Even when you’re not writing a new project, you can still grow as a writer by critiquing other writers' work. The relationships you build will be there when you need help.

It’s no secret that things fell apart for me in 2020. My entire family went through an incredibly rough spot, and my writing group was a massive support. They were all extremely supportive in many ways—including practically—helping out with my house and kids. Even though we got together to support each other’s work, we’ve been there to support each other as people and friends. I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful, like-minded people in my life.

Final Thoughts

Your writing community is absolutely imperative to your success as a writer. Your community will help you edit, save money, stay accountable, grow, and network. Even more introverted individuals will benefit immensely from building their writing community.

If you’re at a total loss for where to start, then start by shooting me an email! I’d be happy to be a member of your writing community. Let’s grow together!

Email Beth Martin

Author’s note: Even though I used ChatGPT to assist in writing the outline for this post, The content and ideas presented here are all my own.

No comments: